Ireland Old News

The Times
London, Middlesex, England

November 04, 1869

An account reached town yesterday evening of an atrocious outrage in the county of Cavan, committed, it is supposed, by the Orange party. As the Rev. James DUNNE, P.P., of Belturbet, was returning home from the tenant-right meeting in Cavan, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. SMITH, C.C., and some tenant farmers, about 6 o'clock on Monday evening, they were fired at by a party of miscreants, who lay in ambush for them at a place called Drumalure, a stronghold of Orangeism. The two priests, who were seated on a private car, escaped uninjured, although the horse was killed, but one of the farmers, a man named Edward MORTON, of Belturbet, was shot dead; another was wounded in the forehead, and others received wounds more or less severe. No motive is alleged for the outrage, but a very bad spirit has prevailed in parts of this county for some time past. The assassins immediately fled, but it is hoped that the police, who are exerting themselves to the utmost, will find some clue to their discovery. MORTON was walking alongside the car when he was shot.

November 05, 1869

DUBLIN, Nov.4.

The affray at Drumalure has excited a strong feeling of indignation in the locality, not unmingled with alarm lest the angry passions which have hitherto been smouldering should burst forth in some more serious outbreak of party violence. Different versions of the occurrence are as usual in circulation, it is impossible to collect the facts with perfect accuracy, and we can only strike a balance of probabilities between conflicting statements. It is admitted that there was a procession, consisting of Roman Catholics with green banners, which left Belturbet in the morning, in cars and on foot, for Cavan, a distance of seven miles. Their numbers are variously estimated at from 300 to 5,000. It was headed by the Roman Catholic clergy, and as one of the speakers at the meeting observed, the whole demonstration was confined to one party, the Protestants taking no part in it. A correspondent of the Express, who is stated to be trustworthy, gives a circumstantial narrative, in which he says that party cries, such as "To ---- with King William!" were uttered by the crowd when they mustered in the town, and were repeated, notwithstanding the efforts of the priests to prevent them doing so. The Orange party were incensed at this display, and contrasted the alleged impunity allowed to their opponents with the punishment of their friends who violate the Party Processions Act. There were also other circumstances which tended to increase their exasperation. A party of Orangemen who were coming into the town lately with the intention of doing some harvest work by way of employment for one of their order were attacked on their way home by a Roman Catholic party, who lay in wait for them. It is to be observed, however, that they were playing some of their favourite tunes. The procession to the Cavan meeting revived the recollection of old feuds, and the demeanour of the Tenants-Righters and the expressions they are alleged to have used, although their clergy did their utmost to restrain them, were regarded as offensive and threatening. On their way to Cavan the processionists were joined by another body, who met them at a cross road, and the whole cortege passed on through the Drumalure district, where there is a considerable number of Orangemen. The procession was felt to be a defiance to them, and this irritation was increased by rumours to the effects that their houses would be wrecked on the return of the processionists from the meeting. The Protestant clergymen of the locality went among their flocks and endeavoured to allay the irritation, but without effect, and as evening approached fears of a collision increased so much that at length, after 4 o'clock p.m., informations were sworn before Mr. T. KNIPE, J.P., Belturbet, and a troop of Hussars was despatched to the place where it was thought likely to occur. The troops unfortunately arrived too late. It should be observed that all the available police force had been sent to Cavan in the morning. Before the Hussars had arrived the affray had commenced. Various accounts were given of its origin. The correspondent of the Freeman states that the Rev. Mr. DUNNE, P.P., and the Rev. Mr. DALY, his curate, were on a car at the head of their parishioners, when, without any provocation whatever, they were set upon by an Orange party lying in ambush, and occupying some houses which skirted the road. On the other hand, it is reported that stones were flung by some of the processionists at one of the houses, that there was a manifestation of party feeling, and that some of the Tenant-Righters rushed up a lane to attack some Protestants who had assembled to protect the houses. Whether these alleged provocations were really given or the Orangemen deliberately set themselves to intercept the procession, which is not at all incredible, the result was that the processionists were fired upon. The horse was shot under the car on which the two priests were seated, but they providentially escaped without injury. MORTON, the man who was killed, was in the act of getting up on the car when he was struck by the ball, which broke the femoral artery, and he died shortly after his admission into Belturbet Hospital. An inquest was held on Tuesday, and a number of witnesses were examined, who identified six men, named John WHITE, Alexander WHITE, John Henry HEWITT, John Edward REA, Joseph HEWITT, and George SMITH, as concerned in the affray. They were armed with guns, and it was sworn that John WHITE fired the fatal shot. The jury returned a verdict inculpating him as principal and the rest as accessories. MORTON was buried yesterday. It had been intended, as rumour alleges, to have a demonstration, with green banners, and to march past the scene of the affray; but Mr. Cole HAMILTON, R.M., proceeded from Belturbet with a troop of cavalry to prevent a proceeding which would probably have led to still more fatal consequences. MORTON was a labourer. He was a young man and unmarried.

Submitted by: County Cavan Newspaper Transcription Project

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